Historical Truth Before the European Court of Human Rights
Helmut Philipp Aust and Esra Demir-Gürsel (eds.), The European Court of Human Rights: Current Challenges in Historical Perspective, Edward Elgar 2021, Forthcoming
Posted: 13 Nov 2020
Date Written: September 24, 2020
This chapter analyses the European Court of Human Rights’ approach to history. It inquires whether the Court should pronounce on historical issues that are of significance to states and individuals, and whether it should accept history as an argument in the interpretation of the Convention. It is submitted that the Court does and should do both, but not in each and every case. Historical analogies are a legitimate part of its reasoning and individual historical research is rightly considered an important part of freedom of expression. Historical questions must be answered by the Court when this is necessary for its legal determinations. It can also make statements obiter dictum to preserve well-established historical facts and provide symbolic relief, but it should refrain from intervening in controversial historical debates when this is not necessary to adjudicate a case.
Keywords: ECtHR, History, Identity, Truth, Genocide, Objectivity, Human Rights
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